Two things are absolutely necessary for a man to be successful in life. They are wisdom and power. Without these it is impossible for him to even scale the smallest of small heights. Human beings are born with certain wisdom and power that allows them to perform varieties of activities. Yet, this does not enable them to attain to the ultimate prize of true wisdom and power. This is a failure begotten by sin. Sin is the power of the flesh and it corrupts the wisdom and power of men. Therefore, man is rendered powerless regarding the many things related to life and godliness. When sin adheres itself to wisdom and power in man, it yields folly and corruption, and man begins to perform unrighteous works. Though he prospers in many ways, his prosperity is not without the influence of sin. Such prosperity always yields the wages of sin. It is only in the wisdom and power of God to nullify the wages of sin. For God to nullify the wages of sin man’s wisdom and power must be conquered by His. Then, the sin present in him shall also be conquered.
People whose sin has been conquered by the wisdom and power of God are the children of God. Their wisdom and understanding is far above those of this world. They do not think like the people of this world. They find fault with the seeming righteousness of the world. Therefore, they also act differently. Herein is the greatest advantage for God’s people that by consciously displaying the wisdom and power of God they proclaim the presence of the true God. They consciously display seeing that the knowledge relating to God conquering their wisdom and power began yielding victories. Hence, as the world continues in its wisdom and power to establish itself God’s children too establish themselves, but in the wisdom and power of God. Such establishment of God’s children always yields in the wages of righteousness. Righteousness of God can only be displayed in us by the wisdom and power of God in us. If it is not so, the seeming righteousness of the world is good enough, since it too is a product of a certain wisdom and power. Therefore, “Daniel said, ‘Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him’” (Dan. 2:20).
For this reason also, Christians ought to thank and praise the God of heaven and earth. To have the God of Daniel in us is an unfathomable blessing. Wisdom and power shall also prevail in us. That there exists a difference between a man of God and one who is not so was established by God through Daniel. What did the wisdom and power of all the wise men in the kingdom of Babylon earn them? They earned them the sentence of death. However, through the wisdom and power of God in one man, Daniel, the sentence of death was nullified. What Daniel was able to reveal to Nebuchadnezzar, i.e. both the dream and its interpretation, was unheard of. To interpret the dream specified is normal, but to specify the dream of another and then interpret it is beyond normal i.e. bewildering. Unless one is a firm believer of God this event might even appear to him a myth. In the end, Daniel who was made righteous by the wisdom and power of God was also found righteous before the king and the rest. He consciously ratified the presence of the true God before unbelievers and sinners. Daniel and his three friends established themselves in the kingdom and the rewards they received were because of righteousness.
Then again, if the wisdom and power of God are not ours for the demonstration of His glory, the reward would be more than the sentence of death that fell upon those wise men of Babylon. It would yield eternal death. For if the wisdom and power of the flesh in those who call themselves Christians was not replaced by the wisdom and power of God, they have never attained to the righteousness that brings glory to God. When they are not bringing glory to God, they are nonetheless not of Christ. “And He will destroy the glory of his forest and of his fruitful garden, both soul and body, and it will be as when a sick man wastes away” (Isa. 10:18). Sadly, the present day churches of Christ have not yet overcome the wisdom and power of the flesh. It is because they have not yet allowed God to lead them in Christ. For this reason, the influence of sin is still vibrantly seen in the churches. They rejected God’s wisdom and power that is necessary to proclaim His presence and warns men for salvation. In reality, when their fathers first spoke of Christ, they spoke in accordance with the wisdom and power that is in the flesh. Therefore, the righteousness that brings glory to God was never attained, and is the case even to this day. When death was looming all the wise men of Babylon, what prompted Daniel to bargain for time from the king? It was his knowing of God through His regulations, statutes and the faith that approved his fathers. He knew God to be a God who always has ways to provide. Since his wisdom and power were replaced by God’s, and by what he learned of God from His word, he did not think of God in human terms. This saved his life and the life of many.
Death still looms mankind, even many churches. They have not known the secret of being God’s children. “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4). Yes, it is the Spirit of God that fashioned you and I, and it is His wisdom and power in us that alone gives life. If the righteous are able to live in a seemingly righteous world and among seeming Christians, it is because He constantly works in them. For the righteous to live in a world that presents itself as righteous is itself a great difficulty and how difficulty knows no boundaries when they live among those that are seemingly Christians! Hence, they are made to consciously display the wisdom and power of God and ratify His presence. Job was surrounded by friends that seemed to be of God and his suffering only multiplied. This is because people that seem to be of God do not possess His wisdom and power. They do not possess them, since they do not believe. This made Job reveal the wisdom of God in him that later became the cause for the revealing of God’s power.
It is of utmost importance for Christians to note that belief in God and His Son does not necessitate wisdom, but vice versa. It is for this reason that Jesus did not have to choose His disciples from the learned. True wisdom and understanding are in His power. All He seeks from men is to believe in Him and posses them. Such a pattern may appear irrational to some, but the rationality of the Creator is the way to life. If some insist for wisdom to believe in God, know that their insisting is actually for learnedness. Such a pattern can never attain belief in God, since the wisdom that is not from God is of the flesh and it is influenced by sin. That which the Disciples of Christ had and the learned of those days did not was belief. This was sufficient for Christ to demonstrate in them the wisdom and power of God. God was glorified in the presence of many. But, those who were the learned reaped the wages of sin when their learning resisted and obstructed belief, a work of God. “Therefore thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I am about to punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants; he will not have anyone living among this people, and he will not see the good that I am about to do to My people,’ declares the LORD, ‘because he has preached rebellion against the LORD’” (Jer. 29:32).
The proof of rebelling against God is resisting belief i.e. refusing to accept the wisdom and power of God to conquer the wisdom and power of the flesh. This paves way for many works of unrighteousness. And, when those who resist belief preach the kingdom of God, it is not hard to imagine their nature and the fruit of their labor. For this reason, many churches are on the verge of losing the goodness of the Lord and would not be a surprise if some have already lost it. For observe the manner by which they speak of God, His Son and the manner in which they use their learning. It is abhorrent. Why did the learned that resisted belief receive the wages of sin? Was it not because they insisted on their learning? They deliberately regarded their fruit of the flesh more than the free gift of God in the form of belief. Consider Paul who while insisting on his learning was well on course to losing the goodness of the Lord. He performed unrighteous works of which he himself consciously mentioned. When he believed by the grace of Christ, he was able to discard his learning. He discarded it to the point of not resisting belief. This belief then gave a purpose to his learning i.e. to lead people to Christ. Christ demonstrated the wisdom and power of God through Him; God was glorified. Thus, Paul found God’s goodness. He never had to turn to his learning for sustenance and honor.
I wish preachers, teachers, evangelists, missionaries and ministers realize this might of God. “He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies” (Ps. 18:11). The wisdom of the psalmist demonstrates God as a mighty warrior lying in ambush to destroy His enemies. Those who speak of God without His wisdom and power are His enemies, because they speak in the influence of sin. They perform varieties of activities and make belief redundant. The Lord God Himself will resist them from obtaining the ultimate prize of true wisdom and power. They will not realize it. “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah’” (Ezra 1:2). This is the ultimate prize of true wisdom and power – to be appointed by God for the building of His house, which now is the church. Had not king Cyrus believed God’s call, he would not become a vessel for demonstrating His wisdom and power. As to how all this was possible it is also for you to ponder. Nonetheless, know full well that God always has ways to glorify Himself. Let your wisdom and power be replaced by His and you will not think of Him in human terms. Then, He will also provide you whatever necessary for the building of His kingdom, even as He did for Cyrus or Daniel or Paul.
If there is anything else beyond this, His message is clear. “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood” (Isa. 1:15).